A quick look at five games worth watching this week in the NHL

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Chicago Blackhawks at Calgary Flames: Often taken for granted during his splendid career, Mike Vernon will be rightfully recognized when his No. 30 is raised to the rafters at Pengrowth Saddledome. Once that ceremony is finished, the NHL's best home team will try to strengthen its lead in the Northwest Division by taking two very available points from struggling Chicago.


San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks: There are many who believe that the eventual Stanley Cup champion could very well be one of these teams. They're currently battling for top spot in the Pacific Division and this will be their second meeting in as many nights. Expect Ducks defenceman Scott Niedermayer to be back from injury in time to play this one.


Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa Senators: The first game of their important home-and-home series. Just one point separates the Northeast Division rivals so a series sweep by either side would provide a big boost in the standings. The Habs have had Ottawa's number so far this season with a 3-1-1 record.


Pittsburgh Penguins at Toronto Maple Leafs: These teams enter the week sharing two common traits - Toronto and Pittsburgh are both scorching hot, yet they're both on the bubble in the East. The Maple Leafs will be looking to avenge a recent 8-2 loss to Pittsburgh while Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby will be looking to extend his league scoring lead. And it will all unfold on Hockey Night in Canada.


Atlanta Thrashers at Edmonton Oilers: Edmonton is currently on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture so every game is a big one. This one against Atlanta will be Edmonton's third of the week at Rexall Place, where the Oilers are a tough team to beat. By next week, Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe should have a much better idea of where his team stands.



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